Posted by Carrie Francey
Senior Director of Sales, Marketing & Programs, Microsoft Learning Experience

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Washington State Library to bring Microsoft’s IT Academy online training to more than 385 libraries statewide. The industry-leading technology training will be available to Washingtonians to help prepare them for success in a global workplace that grows more tech-dependent each day.

Technology is everywhere, and one out of two jobs today requires some degree of technology skills. In less than 10 years, this number will increase to three out of every four jobs requiring IT skills. Meanwhile, among 18- to 34-year-olds who are employed, less than half say they have the education and training necessary to get ahead in their job or career, according to Pew Research Center.

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Washington is one of 10 states that has adopted Microsoft IT Academy to help students develop these important skills. It began offering IT Academy in Washington public schools across the state in September 2011. Since that time, more than 16,000 certifications have been earned by Washington public school students and teachers, with nearly 11,600 of those earned in the 2012-13 school year.

Many adults face the challenge of having never learned many of the technology skills that are present in some of the fastest-growing industries. With the launch of the Washington State Library Microsoft IT Academy, Washington becomes the first state to offer the IT Academy program through both its high schools and its libraries.

Through IT Academy, Washingtonians have access to free training in three levels of technology courses: basic digital literacy proficiencies, Microsoft Office training and advanced skills for IT professionals. There are 15,000 IT Academy institutions in 133 countries around the world, reaching 8.5 million students and educators every year.

Over the last twelve months, we issued 1.4 million certifications, and we are seeing daily examples of success. At a time when everyone needs these types of skills to succeed in their economic future, Microsoft’s IT Academy provides a vital path to employment, and we are proud to make this available to everyone in Washington.